Pacific meets with Korea 's fishing industry

Opportunity to strengthen relationship between Pacific and Korea

Pacific leaders met with representatives from the fishing industry and the Government of the Republic of Korea to discuss balancing the needs of industry and environment in the Pacific.

At a dinner hosted by the Korean Overseas Fisheries Association, Dr Noeleen Heyzer, Under-Secretary-General of the UN and Executive Secretary of Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), said "It is vital that the vast Pacific Ocean resources are managed in a sustainable way, which respects the last remaining major tuna stocks in the world. Korea , given its leadership in green growth and sustainable development, is in a strong position to assist the Pacific islands in such a critical endeavour."

While fishing is a major sector of many Pacific island economies, the Pacific Ocean - home to a vast diversity of marine life – is a global resource that must be protected and maintained. ESCAP as a forum for building strong ties between Asia-Pacific countries recognizes that Asian countries, such as Korea , which consume high amounts of seafood, are important development partners for Pacific small island developing States.

The President of Kiribati, H.E. Mr Anote Tong, spoke on behalf of the Pacific group, strongly supporting the need for effective sustainable management and harvest of tuna.

"It is also important to ensure that the Pacific small island States get a fairer return from ocean resources and their own investment", said President Tong. Worth around US$4 billion per year, only 5 per cent of the revenue from the Pacific tuna industry goes to Pacific countries. This is the second such meeting Dr Heyzer has arranged between private sector and government representatives from the Pacific, the first being held during the 63 rd ESCAP Commission Session in 2007.

"Meeting with Asian private sector representatives is an important opportunity as they operate in the resource sectors of the Pacific", said H.E. Mr Edward Natapei, Prime Minister of Vanuatu, who also attended the dinner.

This meeting was arranged as a side event the 66 th ESCAP Commission Session taking place 13-19 May in Incheon, Republic of Korea . Background documents to the 66 th ESCAP Commission Session are available on the ESCAP website at www.unescap.org/66 .